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Court rejects much of Kim Dotcom’s bid for judicial review over extradition

By | Published on Monday 18 December 2017

Kim Dotcom

We are fast approaching the sixth anniversary of the shutdown of often controversial file-transfer website MegaUpload on copyright grounds, and its founder Kim Dotcom is still fighting extradition to the US to face various criminal charges there.

As previously reported, after various false starts and following the employment of various legal technicalities, courts in Dotcom’s adopted home of New Zealand finally decided at the end of 2015 that the MegaUpload founder should be extradited to America to face those aforementioned charges.

However, Dotcom continues to work his way through the appeal process. Earlier this year, New Zealand’s High Court reaffirmed the earlier judgement that Dotcom and some of his former MegaUpload colleagues could indeed be extradited. But more routes of appeal remain, and the whole matter is expected to reach the country’s Court Of Appeal next February.

Concurrent to that, earlier this year Dotcom filed a claim requesting a judicial review of the extradition process to date. That claim outlined eight specific grievances, including issues with search warrants and the seizure of property, most of which had already been aired in some detail at past court hearings.

Last week the High Court judge considering that claim rejected seven of the eight grievances. Judge Timothy Brewer noted that while there had indeed been some issues with the search warrants secured by officials when New Zealand police raided Dotcom’s home in 2012, that matter went to the country’s Supreme Court which subsequently upheld the validity of said warrants.

Meanwhile, the dispute over whether there are actually grounds for extradition in this case has already been considered by the High Court as part of the initial appeal hearing, and will be considered again in the Court Of Appeal next year.

To that end Brewer sided with US prosecutors, who had disputed seven of Dotcom’s arguments, and dubbed the application for judicial review as a “collateral attack on previous decisions of the courts and an attempt to pre-empt Mr Dotcom’s appeal”.

According to Torrentfreak, last week Brewer wrote: “I have granted the USA’s application to strike out causes of action one to seven of the statement of claim for judicial review dated 21 July 2017. The proceeding is now ‘live’ only in relation to the eighth cause of action”.

That eight gripe related to another legal technicality already raised by Team Dotcom, that being the sharing of digital data seized by New Zealand officials with prosecutors in the US. The USA hadn’t disputed that specific grievance, so that element of Dotcom’s submission for judicial review stands for now.